Wisconsin to get $810 million for high-speed train

Thursday, January 28, 2010

From an article by Jason Stein in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Wisconsin will receive $810 million in federal stimulus money to establish high-speed passenger rail from Milwaukee to Madison and to study the possibility of extending it to the Twin Cities, President Barack Obama's administration will announce Thursday.

That would eventually bring 110 mph passenger rail service from Chicago to Madison after years of fruitless attempts to jump-start the project and give Madison its first passenger rail service since 1971.

As part of a national rollout following Obama's State of the Union address Thursday, federal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is expected to be in Milwaukee for an afternoon press conference to discuss Wisconsin's share of $8 billion in awards for high-speed rail

"This is a major job creation project that will provide a long-term boost to our economy," Gov. Jim Doyle said in a statement. "Through high-speed rail we will connect the major centers of commerce in Wisconsin and in the region. This was a national competition and the results clearly demonstrate that Wisconsin had a very strong application."

The Obama administration estimates the awards will create tens of thousands of jobs in the nearer term for workers laying and improving track and building stations. Supporters argue high-speed rail also could spur long-term economic growth just as the nation's Interstate highways did a generation ago.

Obama said in his address Wednesday that he would be in Tampa, Fla., Thursday and that workers there plan to start construction of a high-speed rail line.